We Ignore This Powerful Tool Way Too Often

It’s not time, but it’s close.

I remember my last day of college like it was yesterday. The psychology lecture concluded more quietly than normal. A cacophony of nervous shuffles. Zipping backpacks. Squeaking chairs. It was the final lecture of the semester, so the atmosphere should’ve been more jubilant. But the final exam we had just taken? Not so jubilant.

Psychology was notorious for being a mind-bender. It was always one of the last exams every final season. So for starters, it hit people when they were already exhausted. Plus, these specific professors had a knack for making things up on the exam that no one had ever heard of in any lectures. Hence all three hundred of us reeked of defeat that chilly morning. One by one, we shuffled out. Anxious. Fearful.

But something clicked for me as I was walking out with my head down that day. “There’s nothing we can do about finals,” I thought. “But what if I just leave?” The thought had honestly never crossed my mind. Never thought it was possible to escape Alcatraz. But there was nothing stopping me.

I could just leave the campus that very minute. Skip the next final I was going to study for. Take the train anywhere. Do anything. Meet anyone. I was free as a bird, caged only by my own perceptions of what I could and couldn’t do.

What would happen to my grades if I skipped a final? What would happen next semester? How would this impact the rest of my college journey? Did I have to continue the journey at all? What would I do, otherwise? Where would I go? Who would I be?

So many questions. So many unknowns. But so many more possibilities. I had no idea what would happen if I set myself free. So I couldn’t tell you why exactly I took the shot. If I wanted to sound smart, I’d say it was passion. If I wanted to be honest, I’d say I had no other choice. But I guess the “why” doesn’t really matter. Because it all worked out.

Within weeks of my decision, I was on a plane to Germany for a job interview. And after a week in Munich, I secured my first ever contract. Flash forward a month, and I was moving into my new apartment on Erika-Mann-Straße 17. And that was just the beginning.

Now, almost exactly two years from my first day in Germany, I’m moving into a new apartment once again. This time in Malaysia, my homeland. It’s a much nicer place. Lots of windows. I won’t have to pick food out of the garbage, again. I won’t have to share it with six strangers, again. And to top it all off, I’m at the helm of my own little technology company.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past two years, it’s this: Life has a funny way of sorting itself out. It’ll be a complete mess, at some point. It’ll be so tangled that you can’t even begin to make sense of it. But slowly, order will form from the chaos when you’re not looking. And before you know it, a garden has grown from the graveyard.

Trading bot engineer, songwriter, sponsor of artists. <mika@myika.co>

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